Wednesday, October 16, 2013

First Century Lawyers (Acts 24)

1. The high priest Ananias (is this the Ananus who put James the brother of Jesus to death in 62?) goes up with a lawyer named Tertullus to see the procurator, Felix about Paul. Both Tertullus and Paul completely flatter the guy.

Tertullus: What tremendous reforms you've brought!
Paul: You are so knowledgeable I am very happy to make my defense.

2. Tertullus calls Paul a ringleader of the Nazarenes (a great put down indeed ;-) and a troublemaker who went around stirring up riots.  He says he tried to defile the temple. By the way, verse 7 appears to be an addition to the KJV text. In the verse, Tertullus faults Claudius Lysias for stealing Paul away from them.

Paul denies it. I didn't argue with anyone at the temple. I haven't stirred up things in the synagogue or anywhere else in Jerusalem. He does admit to being a follower of the Way. He believes in the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.

3. Finally, evidence of the offering!  He came to Jerusalem with gifts for the poor.  Paul indicates that the ones accusing him are from Asia (i.e., Ephesus).

4. Felix wants a bribe. He keeps calling for Paul.  Paul keeps on talking. Felix gets no money.  Paul expounds on righteousness, self-control, and judgment instead.

5. Two years.  Paul runs out the clock until the next governor arrives in maybe AD60, Festus.

1 comment:

Susan Moore said...

Reading Acts 24 in light of Rev. DeNeff's sermon, it seems that Ananias and his group, and also Felix, were working for their own good. Felix, perhaps, thought Paul just wanted to make a name for himself, so he wanted Paul to give him a bribe and in exchange he'd back off the Jews and Paul could keep on speaking. Felix really wanted Paul to prove him right and pay the bribe. When Paul didn't yield in his faith, Felix got nervous. He listened to Paul a lot, which meant that many times the Spirit was tapping at Felix' door to let Him in. Felix was probably relieved when he was succeeded by someone (anyone) else.
Whereas Paul was motivated by faith and was working for the glory of His Lord. What would Paul gain for himself by defending Christ against secular people and Christ haters? It would have been to Paul's own benefit to deny his faith and call it a day.
But he never did.